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Most of us… would like our family and friends to spend more time with us

Canadians are a lonely bunch, according to a new study.

The Angus Reid Institute recently partnered with research institute Cardus to explore the quality of human connection and found that 62 per cent of Canadians would like their friends and family to spend more time with them.

Only 14 per cent of participants said they were content with their social lives, describing them as “very good.”

When asked if they wished they had someone to talk to, but don’t, 41 per cent of Canadians said they “often” or “sometimes” felt this way. This sentiment was higher among young women at 59 per cent.

While many Canadians (69 per cent) said they interact with family or friends via social media, text or email, 54 per cent of all respondents still wish they had someone to go places with and 47 per cent said they felt lonely and wished they had more friendly human contact. Less than half (46 per cent) of respondents said they have fulfilling face-to-face conversations on a regular basis.

Researchers arranged participants according to social isolation, the number of interpersonal interactions a person has, and their satisfaction with those interactions. They then separated them into five groups: the desolate, lonely but not isolated, isolated but not lonely, the moderately connected and the cherished.

They discovered that those who identified as “the cherished,” or those who do not suffer from social isolation or loneliness are most likely to be married (75 per cent), have children and have higher incomes than the national average.

Those who fell into the “desolate” group were more likely to have a lower income. Of those in this category, 41 per cent had an annual household income of less than $50,000. Many minority groups such as LGBTQ2+ individuals and Indigenous persons often appeared in this group as well.

The “lonely, but not isolated” group was the smallest and youngest group of the total population—43 per cent were under the age of 35. Their income levels mirrored the national average, but they scored the highest on education.

Individuals classified as “isolated, but not lonely,” had a tendency to be older, with 48 per cent of its members being over 54. And while 62 per cent said they were married, many likely have had their children leave home.

Those in the “moderately connected” group, who were neither lonely nor isolated, gave responses that mirrored the average Canadian. Researchers found their income levels, education, age, household composition and marriage status were all similar to the national average. This group also had the largest membership (31 per cent) on the loneliness and social isolation index.